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“Entdecke DE”: Mainau in Bloom

The “Entdecke DE” series takes you on a tour through Germany. This spring, our destination is Mainau in Lake Constance.

© picture-alliance/WILDLIFE

If only these gnarled old trees could talk. Some of the giant redwoods, Himalayan cedars and giant cedars have been growing in the “Arboretum” park on the island of Mainau ever since it was established in the year 1853. If they could, they would probably wax lyrical about the clouds of mist that sometimes envelop Lake Constance in the early hours of the morning. Or about the distant view of the Alps. And of course about the fragrant carpets of brightly coloured flowers at their feet. Instead, however, they silently fan out their leafy canopies and coniferous branches above the heads of the visitors to this 45 hectare park, creating an oasis of calm right at the heart of one of Germany’s most popular days out.

The Flower Island in the south of Germany is the perfect place to stroll, to dream and to draw breath. From the moment one steps off the pedestrian bridge or ferry onto the island, which is entirely free of cars and bicycles, the garden reveals its seductive powers. The founding aristocratic Bernadotte family stages a whole host of events for visitors to their ancestral home. In the Year of Flowers 2013, the fairy-tale motto is “Enchanted and Bewitching”.

The true spectacle, however, comes courtesy of nature itself as the seasons change throughout the year: the season begins with one of Germany’s biggest displays of orchids in the Palm House. Every autumn, around 500,000 bulbs are planted on Mainau. Towards the end of April and the beginning of May, over a million flowers then blossom in a magnificent display of colour. Next, it is the turn of some 12,000 proud rose plants in the Italian Rose Garden. Late summer and autumn make the island shimmer with the colour of sun-hungry tubers such as dahlias. Inside the Butterfly House, temperatures still hover at a very comfortable 26 degrees, with 80 to 90 percent humidity. Watching the delicate and brightly patterned butterflies as they flutter around can have an almost hypnotic effect after a while – and in any case it is far from easy to drag oneself away from this paradise again.